Robert Costello is a British writer who reports on business topics of interest. To get himself started every morning, he completes a crossword while eating breakfast.

While the ability to work from home has been a selling point for a number of jobs over the years, it’s only been in the past decade or so that it has become a staple in the average office. The opportunity to do paid jobs from the comfort of home has made the work-life balance a much simpler affair, but reports are starting to suggest that the number of people taking up this chance has plateaued.

With money becoming a ruling force in our lives, the importance of a regular income has started to take precedence over the benefits of a remote position. While a loan paid the same day could provide relief in financial emergencies, the need for a guaranteed salary is growing – could this be the reason for the plateau?

What Benefits Does Remote Working Bring?

Remote working provides benefits for both the employer and the employee, with reports of increased flexibility, productivity and lower stress overall. By opting for remote or work-from-home employees, businesses can gain access to a wider pool of talent for their company, particularly in industries such as Marketing, Information Technology, and the Arts.

Freelance workers often provide the same level of skill as an in-house employee, but may prove to be a more cost-effective alternative; rather than paying an annual salary, businesses can pay their workers on a job-by-job basis, and in cases where they may not need that particular role year-round, this works out cheaper. Having an employee on location can mean paying sick leave, holiday allowance and catering for other unscheduled absences, which all adds up over time.

For employees, working from home comes with the obvious benefits, including flexibility, a better work-life balance and ultimately, a happier working life. Working as part of a remote team offers the opportunity to avoid communicating and be able to work when it suits their schedule best. Whether they are parents that need to work around their child’s school routine, or would simply like to avoid a 6am start in the mornings, remote working allows them to do so. With that in mind, why has it hit such a plateau?

Remote Working Is Changing

In the past, working from home has been seen more commonly in businesses allowing their in-house employees to flexibly work from home as and when they need to. In these cases, this plateau is coming as a result of unsupportive managerial attitudes, negative assumptions around motivation when working from home and in some cases, limited opportunity to implement a suitable program. For this reason, there are fewer people opting for these roles, at least on a formal basis.

However, while these formal cases may be plateauing, as more young talent begins to focus on freelance roles, businesses are starting to open their doors to freelancers on an ad-hoc basis. Through hiring freelance workers, businesses gain access to valuable talent, while ensuring that their workforce maintains motivation, productivity and enhances their chances of retaining staff.

Could There Be A Rise In The Future?

It is predicted that by 2020, around half of the workforce in the UK alone are likely to be working remotely some, or all of the time. With benefits that are impossible to ignore for both businesses and the employees themselves and with the rise in ease of communication across networks, rather than within offices, it’s becoming a ‘no-brainer’ in many cases. For businesses working in IT, Business Administration, Marketing, App Development, and Education and Training, working with remote teams could become the norm in the near future.

As workplace practices develop, the way that businesses hire and manage employees is set to change considerably. From email-based interview processes to virtual offices, there could be more companies moving away from physical real estate, to operating their daily business entirely via a network.